• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 23, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 495 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 495

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User Reviews

  1. May 16, 2012
    5
    I was expecting this to be more of a MOTW format with each week there being a fairy tale character that needs help to get back to the fairy-tale world. Instead it is a continuous story set in the real world. The story is quite good at first, but the problem is that is all just too lightweight, there is no real sense of threat or importance to anything that happens. The fairy-taleI was expecting this to be more of a MOTW format with each week there being a fairy tale character that needs help to get back to the fairy-tale world. Instead it is a continuous story set in the real world. The story is quite good at first, but the problem is that is all just too lightweight, there is no real sense of threat or importance to anything that happens. The fairy-tale characters are trapped in the real world but they are not in any danger, they don't even know they are from another world. They all have jobs, houses, friends; you could even say they have better lives than before since fairy tales are set in medieval times. Also, the evil queen sent them all to the real world as a PUNISHMENT, so why did she choose to COME WITH THEM? Once the story has established itself, the show becomes a lot more like a soap in which the characters just happen to be fairy-tale characters and the plots are boring. The element of fantasy is mostly gone and its more trivial human life drama. Expand
  2. Nov 11, 2015
    6
    Slightly better than the average tv shows on throughout the week. Although they could have been more similar to Fables by Vertigo and less similar to Disney princesses. This show is a bit blah and more family friendly than it needs to be.
  3. Oct 24, 2011
    6
    Once Upon a Time (saying thatâ
  4. Dec 2, 2011
    6
    I have to give this show a 6 because it is bad very bad. However some small part of you actually enjoys it. it isn't so much a guilty please because the work in it is actually pretty good. Maybe it is the fact of seeing Jennifer Morrison doing something completely different or Lana Parrilla as the evil queen (who by the way is the one brightest spot on the show) not to mention RoberI have to give this show a 6 because it is bad very bad. However some small part of you actually enjoys it. it isn't so much a guilty please because the work in it is actually pretty good. Maybe it is the fact of seeing Jennifer Morrison doing something completely different or Lana Parrilla as the evil queen (who by the way is the one brightest spot on the show) not to mention Rober Carlisle as Rumpplestilskin or Mr. Gold; I don't know at all but you do find yourself engrossed when you watch. Now back to the Evil Queen talk about you above average baddies. Holy crap this woman has got the guns and she is blazing up this show like it was high noon. This is that show you will curse for watching but keep coming back too. Expand
  5. Oct 26, 2011
    4
    I think this show is more for kids. It's ok but not one I would worry about watching again unless there was absolutely nothing else on. The concept is different from anything else on TV right now and at least it isn't a reality show...is it? LOL
  6. Nov 4, 2011
    6
    The show feels slightly August Rush, with extra cheese and fairy tales. The concept is interesting but not up to the standard set by Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods which moulded the familiar stories together rather brilliantly whilst continuing their journeys thereafter. Jennifer Morrison is rather uncharismatic as the Debt-collecting protagonist, She needs someone with the balls ofThe show feels slightly August Rush, with extra cheese and fairy tales. The concept is interesting but not up to the standard set by Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods which moulded the familiar stories together rather brilliantly whilst continuing their journeys thereafter. Jennifer Morrison is rather uncharismatic as the Debt-collecting protagonist, She needs someone with the balls of Tilda Swinton to pass off that type of character, however, she doesn't stay her profession for very long as August Rush, sorry, Henry, the male protagonist of our story, locates her to begin the series properly. As I say the concept is interesting but it feels a little corny, the whole thing stinks of cheese but whether that is yummy, cheesy pizza cheese or rotten garbage bin cheese is still being decided. The mark of a great show in my eyes is one that makes me say "HURRY UP NEXT WEEK!" and unfortunately I didn't have this reaction. As it is, it seems the other fairytale inspired TV show, Grimm, has a more "case of the week" approach, I am unsure so don't quote me on that, and if that's the case then I hope that Once Upon A Time steers clear of that generic path. Lana Parilla is a favourite of mine from Swingtown and I am really rooting for her to survive the entire season/series. I loved the LOST references but they seem out of place given the extreme 180 in direction, had this show been more sci-fi, they would not be out of place, but they're still worth a smile or too. Apartment/House #108 for example. Hoping for the show's growth but given the current state of TV, I don't know how likely that is. 5 Grouse points for casting Robert Carlisle as Rumplestiltskin. But I'm a bloke, I need more from my shows than cheesy sentimentality. Rooting for the Evil Queen and Maleficent all the way! Expand
  7. Nov 24, 2012
    6
    It is a decent show, once can't deny that. I would never not recommend it, but as a forewarning: this is a soap opera melodrama under the guise of a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tales. Not to say it does not do a good job of it, but if you were to take at least some of the themes seriously (such as adoption and birth mothers, legal system, and some relationships), it willIt is a decent show, once can't deny that. I would never not recommend it, but as a forewarning: this is a soap opera melodrama under the guise of a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tales. Not to say it does not do a good job of it, but if you were to take at least some of the themes seriously (such as adoption and birth mothers, legal system, and some relationships), it will drive you up the wall with it's inaccuracies. The concept it still great, though could never call it unique (as this has been done so many times before), but it is entertaining and addictive. Looking for quality, you will definitley find it here, but those with a more discerning eye will see what I am talking about. Expand
  8. Jun 23, 2014
    6
    There was some good and bad with this show. It felt a bit weak to me like the story teller could've tied up a lot of loose ends and managed the characters better. I understand the difficulty in writing that many characters into a story is difficult and it's easy to see you did a bad job if you can't juggle them all properly.

    The second flaw is a very atmosphere intrusive flaw. The
    There was some good and bad with this show. It felt a bit weak to me like the story teller could've tied up a lot of loose ends and managed the characters better. I understand the difficulty in writing that many characters into a story is difficult and it's easy to see you did a bad job if you can't juggle them all properly.

    The second flaw is a very atmosphere intrusive flaw. The COSTUMES! I honestly wasn't a fan of some of the costumes. Some of them I felt were very tacky. Some had too much bedazzle in my opinion and far too much "boob". I feel like sequins and silly accessories like the cowboy hat on Regina really threw me off. I can appreciate the intricate detailing but some of the accessories appear to be from a jewelry store that imports cheap plastic for preteens to wear. For the most part Abigail, Regina and Sleeping Beauty have been the ones throwing me off. The show will not attract the type of men that are dim witted TV boob obsessed so there is no reason to throw the boobs in there constantly, every now and then is okay but ease up! It is very obvious that the designer was a man or a burlesque queen. Which is fine but not when you are trying to show royal costumes. I feel like fairies are supposed to be intelligent and versed in magic...not grasping for attention with their boobs.

    My overall opinion is:
    The men all look fantastic, the commoners clothes are on par, the earth clothes are on par, less cleavage, less sequins and cheap looking jewelry/accessories, needs work on the writing, Rumple was amazing, although I'm an artist I could tolerate the bad CGI it wasn't as bad as the costumes, the acting needs work, character development needs work, the main villains motives are flimsy, also why can't Americans make films in BC and just let the story be in BC is it another pride thing?

    I'm into the 2nd season now and I am still watching it because I love Disney, fairytales and I enjoy seeing their spin on things but it isn't a show I'm in love with. I feel like they should choose to market more towards teens or adults not an in between.
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  9. May 2, 2013
    5
    This show is okay. It is nice to see a series drama like Lost, but this show is definitely no Lost. The casting is not very good at all.
    Firstly, Jennifer Morrison playing Emma as a supposed 28 yr old is a terrible joke! She looks every bit her age of 34 not a 28 yr old daughter of Snow White.
    Secondly, Snow White is supposed to be the fairest in the land and anyone who has seen the show
    This show is okay. It is nice to see a series drama like Lost, but this show is definitely no Lost. The casting is not very good at all.
    Firstly, Jennifer Morrison playing Emma as a supposed 28 yr old is a terrible joke! She looks every bit her age of 34 not a 28 yr old daughter of Snow White.
    Secondly, Snow White is supposed to be the fairest in the land and anyone who has seen the show can see she is not the beautiful perfect 10 we grew up thinking she was.
    Next, was the budget so small they didn't even try on the CGI? Finally on a good note the only interesting thing going on would be the Evil Queens and Rumplestilskins back stories.
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  10. Sep 24, 2014
    6
    I like the show, but I'm halfway through season 3 and more and more it seems that the technique they use for weekly casting decisions is to send a team of monkeys onto the street and whoever they throw feces at gets to be this weeks new character.

    Sometimes the monkeys get lucky and hit someone good. Hook does a great job. Robin hood is great. Regina has been good since day one, but
    I like the show, but I'm halfway through season 3 and more and more it seems that the technique they use for weekly casting decisions is to send a team of monkeys onto the street and whoever they throw feces at gets to be this weeks new character.

    Sometimes the monkeys get lucky and hit someone good. Hook does a great job. Robin hood is great. Regina has been good since day one, but then other times the monkeys hit annoying teeth lady and we're stuck with Cora for a season. Or they hit Peter Pan or Rapunzel and we go to the "I'm more wooden than Pinochio" school of acting.

    Makes it hard to watch at times. Season 3 has brought us the wicked witch from Auz (It's like Oz, but with a more annoying accent). On the one hand, it's easy to root against her because if they kill off the character we might get a more compelling villain, but it also means that the rest of this season is almost certainly going to feature more of her and I'm not sure it's worth the effort to keep going.
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  11. May 4, 2016
    6
    Confusing and Toothless
    The show is interesting, its a twist on classic fairy tail stories with new over arching plots thrown in. Seeing how stories get combined, different fairy-tale characters turn out to be the same person and how the drama becomes more moral grey then the original Disney story is really interesting to watch. But the main problem with the show is all drama and audience
    Confusing and Toothless
    The show is interesting, its a twist on classic fairy tail stories with new over arching plots thrown in. Seeing how stories get combined, different fairy-tale characters turn out to be the same person and how the drama becomes more moral grey then the original Disney story is really interesting to watch. But the main problem with the show is all drama and audience relation is lost when too many big supernatural elements get thrown in. Every season ends with the heroes having to dig deep down and believe in themselves after finding some rare magical thing needed to stop some big supernatural plague that only been briefly explained is really bad. Because this is a retelling of a fairy tale and its already been explained in the show that good-guys always win. The audience can safely assume that the problem will be resolved adding to drama. then because the show is about magical stuff and our heroes digging down within themselves. The audience has no grasp of what they are going thru and the show makes no attempt to make us feel it.
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  12. May 9, 2016
    5
    Once Upon A Time is a fairy tale version of the show Heroes. Both shows started with a really cool concept that they were unable to sustain after the first season. Both ended up trapping their characters in narrative stasis by retreading the same character arcs every season. Both had a hard core following that continued to watch in the vain hope that the show could reclaim the magicOnce Upon A Time is a fairy tale version of the show Heroes. Both shows started with a really cool concept that they were unable to sustain after the first season. Both ended up trapping their characters in narrative stasis by retreading the same character arcs every season. Both had a hard core following that continued to watch in the vain hope that the show could reclaim the magic because they liked the characters/actors. The only difference is the soapy elements of Once has allowed it to run for more seasons than Heroes. Expand
  13. Oct 18, 2016
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Once Upon a Time, a fantasy T.V. show that leaves your heart pounding, remakes children’s stories and adds twists and turns to make them fun for an older audience. I like how it brings back memories of childhood without it being for little 5 year olds. You never know what will happen next because each of the stories are changed to fit the show and they leave you never knowing what to expect.
    A woman named Emma is dragged into a town called Storybrooke by her son Henry, who she gave up for adoption 10 years ago. When she gets to Storybrooke she finds out that Henry believes everyone there is a fairytale character. Henry thinks it’s his job to make Emma believe that, so she can break the curse the Evil Queen cast, a.k.a. his adoptive mother.
    To understand what I’m talking about there is a bit of background needed, like who is who. So now that I’ve said that, Henry’s teacher is Mary Margaret and he thinks she is Snow White, who is married to Prince Charming or David who you don’t meet until late in the first season because he was in a coma. Henry thinks they are Emma’s parents. But during all of this, none of the people know who they are because their memory was wiped and time is frozen in Storybrooke.
    I like this show for many reasons, one is I like the fantasy ideas pulled into the real world. The mix makes the show very entertaining. My favorite books are fantasy or science fiction, and Once Upon a Time is like the show version of some of those books. During each episode there are flashbacks to when the characters lived in the Enchanted Forest, the place where fairytales take place. So you, as the watcher, know who is who, and are waiting for them to find out who each of the people are.
    I dislike how the flashbacks continue all the way up through the fifth season. After a while you get kind of tired of wondering what random thing they will bring up from the dark path of so and so. I want them to just have it be in the present, and have more things going on. It’s like watching a 20 minute show for 40 minutes, because you don’t care what happens for half. Another awful thing about the show is it’s repetitiveness. They have had 3 or more curses where they are sent somewhere and their memories are taken. It gets very boring, my brother and Dad will hardly watch the show now.
    In my opinion, the 3rd season is the best season, and the one I go back to endlessly. The first two seasons I feel are background facts that are just filling you with the information, and while they are good seasons, you don’t feel the need to watch them again. When you get to the third, they are pulled to Neverland, where they meet Peter Pan and Captain Hook. The roles, however, are reversed so that Pan is the evil one. Hook then starts to like Emma, and like every good movie/show a romance begins. Neverland is full of twists and things you didn’t see coming, like Neal, Henry’s biological dad, is still alive in Neverland when they thought he had been shot. Then there is this tug of war game with Emma and a love triangle is formed.
    Something that I think is really interesting is that the actors who play Snow White and Prince Charming, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, are married in real life, so when they have their love story in the show it’s cool to think about how it’s real.
    The disappointing part of this is that Charming is my least favorite person in the show. He’s always super dramatic and causing tons of issues. The other thing that bothers me is that no matter how many times he is “inevitably” going to die, somehow he get saved! It drives me crazy because every time I’m thinking this will finally be the time he dies. I know that sounds awful but I seriously don’t like him as a character and I think the show would be better off without him.
    In many shows, there is a lot of behavior that is inappropriate for younger audiences and this show keeps that to a minimum, so a family can sit down and watch it together. It is, however, a little confusing, which is why I would say this is a good watch for kids over 11 or so, as it may be too confusing for children much younger than that.
    Overall, the show is very entertaining and I enjoy watching it when I’m not sure what to watch. I think it’s a pretty good show for families with teens because I know that my whole family sits and watches it together. Aside from the few things I dislike I have to say it is one of my favorite shows I have ever watched, although I have recently been forcing myself to finish the fifth season, as it is very anticlimactic since you can guess what will happen next.
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Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Oct 28, 2011
    40
    The series, fueling itself with folklore, proceeds as if no characterization is required.
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Oct 24, 2011
    50
    The show is a bold idea, and there's hope for the modern-world portions, but it doesn't quite know what it is (or maybe it does, but the audience won't).
  3. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Oct 24, 2011
    60
    No other new show this fall is attempting to tell a bigger story, and we're hoping the rough patches smooth out and it fulfills the potential that's there in its very strong cast and premise.